A Measurement Study on Multi-path TCP with Multiple Cellular Carriers on High-speed Rails

Published in ACM SIGCOMM, 2018

Recommended citation: Li Li, Ke Xu, Tong Li, Kai Zheng, Chunyi Peng, Dan Wang, Xiangxiang Wang, Meng Shen, Rashid Mijumbi. "A Measurement Study on Multi-path TCP with Multiple Cellular Carriers on High-speed Rails." Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication (ACM SIGCOMM), pp. 161-175, 2018.

Recent advances in high speed rails (HSRs) are propelling the need for acceptable network service in high speed mobility environments. However, previous studies show that the performance of traditional single-path transmission degrades significantly during high speed mobility due to frequent handoff. Multi-path transmission with multiple carriers is a promising way to enhance the performance, because at any time, there is possibly at least one path not suffering a handoff. In this paper, for the first time, we measure multi-path TCP (MPTCP) with two cellular carriers on HSRs with a peak speed of 310 km/h. We find a significant difference in handoff time between the two carriers. Moreover, we observe that MPTCP can provide much better performance than TCP in the poorer of the two paths. This indicates that MPTCP's robustness to handoff is much higher than TCP's. However, the efficiency of MPTCP is far from satisfactory. MPTCP performs worse than TCP in the better path most of the time. We find that the low efficiency can be attributed to poor adaptability to frequent handoff by MPTCP's key operations in sub-flow establishment, congestion control and scheduling. Finally, we discuss possible directions for improving MPTCP for such scenarios.

Download paper here